Transcribed Ep 33: Hypnotic (R.2021)

REEL Film Reviewed Podcast Episode 33 –  Show Transcript

Hypnotic

Intro

Welcome to REEL Film Reviewed the show that delivers short spoiler free reviews of films, TV shows, and limited series followed by a deep dive discussion.

Brought to you by your host Kris Chaney, here is REEL Film Reviewed.

Content

Welcome back, everyone. 

This episode REEL Film reviewed Hypnotic. A really interesting thriller produced by Netflix and let me say quite a bit of fresh air after watching The Guilty. 

Let’s get into the spoiler free review. 

Kate Siegel plays Jenn Tompson, a woman seeking out talk therapy to overcome past troubles when she meets Dr. Collin Meade, who performs hypnotherapy on her and after a few sessions she discovers deadly side effects, or are they part of something more sinister? 

Looking at the stories, this was a refreshing change of pace from the psychological thrillers we’ve grown accustomed to over the last couple of years. Hypnotic offers a unique look into hypnotherapy and the extreme vulnerability that comes with it. Imagine losing time and having no memory of what you did or what was done to you during that time. 

There are a few factors that assist in making this creepy story work, the first being the hypnotherapy sessions themselve. The setup for the office and the alternating lights, which is, of course, the modern method as is shown in the film. To the: “watch the clock go back and forth” approach that we’ve seen as a more traditional approach. 

It’s a very scary scene when Jenn gets her first therapy session and he’s beginning to prey on her, it sets up Dr. Meade as a lethal villain. It appears to set up to be a decent thriller until the story begins to unfold and we get to look into Doctor Meade’s motivation for performing hypnotherapy and it’s not just because of how effective it can be in treating certain mental struggles. 

The scenes quickly jump from scene to scene, and we only see what’s going on from Jenn’s perspective. As the audience, we don’t see any inside information, we’re limited to the same missing time and left to fit the pieces together alongside Jenn. 

Looking at the cast, Kate Siegel has gained a lot of fame recently for playing Erin Greene in Midnight Mass. She’s also appeared in other Netflix hits like The Hunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Others know her for her work with her husband, Mike Flanagan, and she’s even co-wrote a few of the scripts with him. 

In this, she plays a very strong victim role and she plays that very well, almost the same type of character as she did in Midnight Mass, she displays bravery and action through fear very well. You can tell that she’s terrified and reacts as someone who is afraid and trying to make the best decisions possible. 

Doctor Collin Meade was played by Jason O’mara, and he plays a wonderful control freak therapist. During their sessions, he appears as normal therapists do, patient kind and very soft toned. But as the hypnotherapy lights start, the camera angles focus on Dr. Meade’s voice, and we start to get this chilling feeling about him. 

The supporting characters like Gina, Scott and Brian offer simple placement to show Jenn’s life outside of her personal turmoil and the impacts to her life after she begins the sessions with Dr. Mead, that kind of helps set that up as well.

The hero characters are Doctor Wade Rollins, who has investigated hypnotherapy related crimes in the past and Doctor Stella Graham, which is one of my favorite characters in the film who plays a hypnotherapist that works with the police.

All right, the REEL View Rating. Five and a half stars.

This was a well executed film for the simple concept that it was. There were not a whole lot of surprise moments and the biggest issue I had with it was, the film shifts after one incident and the suspicion immediately goes in one direction and follows that direction until the end. 

The film seemed short, not properly allowing any one piece of the story to fully develop before we’re rushed to the next scene.

Overall, the film was simplistic but also obvious at the same time, the characters walk right into obvious mistakes just because it is the next thing in the script that they need to do. Not many surprises, but an enjoyable thrill that can be over rather quickly. 

Hypnotic was directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote. It stars Kate Siegel, Jason O’Mara, Dulé Hill and Tanja Dixon-Warren. 

It is rated TV 14 and has a run time of 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

It can be viewed on Netflix.

All right, here is the Spoiler alert warning those new to REEL Film Reviewed after this point, I will discuss this review further, potentially and likely reviewing spoilers. 

Thank you for listening to the spoiler free review. I’ll be back after a word about my sponsors. 

Spoiler Alert

Welcome back, everyone. 

Let’s dive into the REEL View Hollywood Comparison.

The REEL View was 5 out of 10 stars. 

Critics said 32 out of 100. 

Meta score from Metacritic is what I use for this. There is a lot that determines their score, but the translation is on a scale of 4 star maximum. A 32 translates to between 1 to 1.5 stars. 

The popular opinion for this film was 5.2 stars.

Basic plotline recap It’s a simple story, Jenn and Brian were together until the stillbirth of their son. They broke up and Jenn understandably goes under a little bit of a depression. She’s not working, she kind of appears like a vampire. Kate Siegel was a great actress to play Jenn because she’s naturally gorgeous and pulls off the vampiric-like depression very well. 

Typically, the way to make someone appear depressed is to essentially make them look like shit. Tired, heavy eye makeup, things like that. With Jenn, her mannerisms and her facial expressions help her to appear depressed as though plagued with great pain. Kind of like a vampire. Anyway, she’s depressed, her friend Gina suggests seeing her therapist, Dr. Meade who makes an odd appearance at Gina’s housewarming party. 

He clearly appears enamored with her. He leaves his card before leaving the party. Also kind of random, and she eventually goes in to meet with him professionally. During their first session, he suggests, and she complies with trying hypnotherapy. 

She then begins weekly sessions with him. Her life appears to be getting better, but she starts having these dreams with Dr. Meade in them. She then bumps into him after apparently it’s been a matter of weeks and he offers to buy her a coffee, again odd. They have this conversation, which is clearly inappropriate given his professional relationship with her as his patient. He suggests she invites her ex Brian over for dinner to talk one night. And then we see her outside of the grocery store, she listens to the voicemail from Brian saying that he would come over for dinner. Then she hangs up the phone and gets a weird call before she actually walks into the grocery store, and it’s an unknown caller. 

The next thing that we see, Jenn is at home and a passed out Brian is on the bathroom floor from anaphylactic shock. Due to how she was feeling about the missing time from the events prior to Brian collapsing, Jenn immediately suspects that it has something to do with doctor Meade’s sessions. 

She gets her friend Gina involved after doing some online research and finding an article about a woman who was under Doctor needs care and she was now dead. Gina feels she’s crazy until Jenn pulls out a receipt showing her that she bought sesame oil at the grocery store and remembered doing nothing when Brian collapsed. 

The two of them seek out the detective that worked on the case and they learn a little bit more. After meeting with him, they learned that Dr. Meade is most likely dangerous and Gina admits to Jenn that Dr. Meade has hypnotized her. Gina had stated earlier in the film that she had asked Dr. Meade to perform hypnotherapy on her before, but he had refused up until this time. So they both realize that they both may be the victims of this guy. 

Jenn decides to record a session with Dr. Meade but of course he’s hip to it, and on the tape it’s clear that he may go after Gina. Gina and her husband are out driving one day when Meade calls Gina, and then she hallucinates and crashes the car, killing them both. 

Jenn is convinced it’s Meade at this point and the detective makes his way to Meade, who informs him that Gina was killed, and of course he implies that he’s got no idea. 

So the Detective leaves, and he’s later attacked at his home by another one of Dr. Meade’s patient, and he ends up in the hospital and while he’s recovering, Jenn visits and the cop tells her to go visit this hypnotherapist that works with the police. And so when she meets with this therapist, she tries to see what Dr. Meade has placed in her mind and it kind of goes a little bit weird.

So they learned that he has placed numerous triggers in her mind which can be triggered at any moment, and it would allow him to control her whenever he wanted. 

Skipping to the showdown. This is what I liked. The reveal that he was vetting women who resembled his dead wife and planting his memories with her in their minds subconsciously. 

It is truly one of the worst, most invasive things that you can possibly imagine. Imagine your thoughts and dreams not even being your own, but yet they feel like memories. 

All right, breaking down the REEL View, I suspected that this film was a victim of over editing. There may have been a lot more to the story that we didn’t get to see. Certain parts were not believable because there was not enough build up, such as the detective giving all of the information that he certainly would not have given. 

The way that Jenn immediately suspects something weird with Dr. Meade can be a little bit–it was a little bit fast, especially for somebody who had built such a trust for her to jump immediately to that was a little bit far-fetched. 

The way that we’re first introduced to Dr. Meade is rather odd, he’s at his patient’s housewarming party. Which is clearly an ethical violation, among others, and when Gina first introduces them, I kind of thought it was a set up, and the way that he was asking her questions just seemed like he was interested in her in a romantic way.

The first session, she immediately trusts him but she says she doesn’t give in to giving others control. It has clearly been a reason why she and Brian were not together, yet she would allow something so invasive on the very first session. 

Him stopping her and her being paralyzed was a little bit much later on in the movie as well. 

The hypnotherapy “start” in some of the scenes were a little bit much. 

The rest of the film was fairly decent, except for the very end. 

Beginning with Jenn figuring out that Dr. Meade is truly bad. Meeting the doctor that helps her was a pretty cool scene. I really enjoyed that scene with the second hypnotherapist that we meet. She had a very good therapist nature, very warm and welcoming, she kind of felt like a safe place. 

I didn’t care for a couple of things with it. The planting of the memories was my favorite part. The overall insanity that drove him to do this, and the way that it was executed in those scenes was pretty cool so I did really enjoy that part.

I didn’t care for the ending, which provided little closure. It was only one month later and she has this crazy weird haircut and I’m assuming it’s supposed to be her real hair but the hair length was really odd and just different and wouldn’t have been that long within a month’s time of growing. And Brian was still not out of the hospital and he wasn’t even awake. It was almost like they didn’t really want to figure out what to do with the end. 

All right, let’s get into some “Did you Know?” facts. 

Not too much about this film, there weren’t too many hidden facts. I think it was pretty much just the fact that the main character, Kate Siegel is married to Mike Flanagan and has done several films with him. 

But also, in the beginning, when Jenn leaves Gina’s housewarming party she’s waiting for Viola, the Uber driver. And Viola was the name of her character in The Haunting of Bly Manor. 

I’m sure we all have our own opinions about hypnosis and I looked into some of the concepts that Hypnotic explored and I found a paper from the University of Finland which reads that a hypnotic suggestion can generate true and automatic hallucinations.

So it seems like when Jenn thought she was at the office, but in reality, she was at his home can actually happen. That was kind of cool reading about that. 

That is all I have for you tonight. 

Thank you for listening to everyone. I’ll catch you next time. 

Outro

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Transcription service by Podcasting Network.

Happy watching everyone.

Published by Kris C.

Kris is the host of the REEL Film Reviewed podcast, the owner of REEL ProduCtions, LLC, (the capital C is intentional) and is an independent filmmaker.

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